How to Install a Terra Cotta Flue Liner

Written by judy kilpatrick Google
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How to Install a Terra Cotta Flue Liner
Large chimneys may have more than one terra cotta flue liner installed. (chimney gable image by David Woods from

Flue liners are essential to the integrity and safety of masonry chimneys. Older homes, built before the implementation of building codes, often have unlined chimneys constructed of bricks and mortar. The mortar deteriorates over time, allowing heat transfer to combustible materials. Terra cotta liners may be installed to correct this problem. "A round flue lining is the most efficient, but rectangular flues fit better in brick construction," Kenneth Nolan, author of Masonry and Concrete Construction, explains. Experienced installers should perform installation of a terra cotta flue lining.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Terra cotta flue tiles
  • Cement mortar
  • Refractory mortar
  • Chimney tile aligner
  • Tile aligner tool
  • Joint smoother tool

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  1. 1

    Measure the qinside the existing chimney for length and width of chimney walls. Accurate measurement is essential to selection of terra cotta flue tiles of the proper size.

    How to Install a Terra Cotta Flue Liner
    Brick mortar in older chimneys is compromised by acidic emissions from the fireplace, creating a fire hazard. (chimney image by hazel proudlove from
  2. 2

    Purchase flue tiles. "Inspect clay flue tiles before purchasing," Mark McCain suggests. "All the tiles that you select should have identical inside dimensions and should be free of warps and cracks," he recommends.

  3. 3

    Place the first tile on the tile aligner tool and butter the top edge of the tile with refractory cement. Lower the tile into place. Make certain the tile is centrally located, with even air spaces all around.

    How to Install a Terra Cotta Flue Liner
    Local building codes regulate the construction of new chimneys. (construction worker measuring image by Greg Pickens from
  4. 4

    Butter the top edge of the second tile and lower it into place, aligning precisely with the first tile.

  5. 5

    Remove excess cement from the joint between the tiles with your joint smoother tool. A looped wire attached to a long pole works well for this purpose.

  6. 6

    Continue to place tiles, align and smooth joints until the tiles extend outside the chimney, according to building codes for your area.

Tips and warnings

  • When lining a stove chimney, cut a clean-out hole at the bottom of the chimney and cut another hole for the thimble where pipe will be attached. Cut matching holes in terra cotta tiles and install at the proper location. After the chimney lining is complete, mortar a door to the clean-out hole. Mortar the thimble into place.
  • Prevent cracking of terra cotta flue liners by installing tiles centrally inside chimney walls, leaving space between the tiles and the existing chimney. Flue liners will expand when heated.

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